Clutch (originally called "Glut Trip" and stemmed from "Moral Minority") was formed in 1991 by Dan Maines (bass), Jean-Paul Gaster (drums), Tim Sult (guitar), and Roger Smalls (vocals) in Germantown, MD. Smalls soon departed and was replaced by Neil Fallon, a longtime schoolmate of the other members at Seneca Valley High School. The band quickly gained notice through constant touring. The 12" single "Passive Restraints" on the Earache label was the band's first commercial release, garnering attention from other labels. Their debut LP, Transnational Speedway League, was released in 1993. It was followed by a self-titled album two years later that gained Clutch mainstream exposure. The band moved to the larger Columbia label for the 1998 album The Elephant Riders. They followed it in 1999 with a self-released groove-based album Jam Room.
The album Pure Rock Fury was released by Atlantic in 2001. The title track was initially released as the first single. The program director for North Carolina rock station WXQR (Rock 105), Brian Rickman, suggested that the label switch singles to another track from the album, "Careful with that Mic." Atlantic did so, and Clutch achieved a surprise hit single. The follow-up tracks, "Immortal" and "Open Up the Border," were also well received by American rock stations. In 2003 they issued Live at the Googolplex and the rarities record Slow Hole to China.
The album Blast Tyrant was released in 2004, their first for DRT Records. The band once again enjoyed more rock radio airplay and heavy rotation on the Music Choice cable service thanks to the single "The Mob Goes Wild." Its accompanying video was directed by Bam Margera, and featured Margera's Viva La Bam co-stars; Ryan Dunn, Brandon DiCamillo, and Don Vito. The video was filmed at Rex's in West Chester, PA. The 2005 release Pitchfork & Lost Needles combined Clutch's 1991 Pitchfork 7-inch release with previously unreleased demos and early tracks. In 2005 the band saw their first lineup change since the early 1990s with the addition of organist Mick Schauer, who performed on the albums Robot Hive/Exodus (2005) and From Beale Street to Oblivion (2007). The latter album was produced by Joe Barresi who has also produced for Kyuss, Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age, and Tool.
The band's first live DVD, Full Fathom Five, and accompanying CD, produced/directed by Agent Ogden, were released in September 2008. The band also released a remastered version of Slow Hole to China: Rare and Unreleased on April 28, 2009. The band's ninth studio album Strange Cousins from the West, was released on July 14, 2009. Songs from the album were played live on tour prior to the album's recording. A 2-disc DVD set Clutch Live at the 9:30 was released on May 11, 2010 by the band's own label, Weathermaker Music. The set includes the entire December 28, 2009 show at Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 club, in which the band performed its entire 1995 self-titled LP.
On May 10, 2011, Clutch reissued their 2004 album Blast Tyrant on Weathermaker Music. The new edition contained a bonus album known as Basket of Eggs that includes unreleased songs as well as acoustic versions of previous hits. In its first week of release Blast Tyrant sold close to 3,000 copies nationally, landing it at No. 26 on the Billboard Hard Rock Top 100, more than seven years after the original version debuted at No. 15.
On June 10, 2012, the band released a new single, "Pigtown Blues", on iTunes, backed with an acoustic version of "Motherless Child" (from Strange Cousins from the West).
On October 16, 2012, Clutch announced that their tenth album will be called Earth Rocker. The album was released on March 16, 2013 and entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at #15 giving the band their highest chart position to date. It would remain on the chart for a total of 5 weeks. The album also reached #4 on iTunes' overall Top 100 album charts and was #1 in their rock chart. Earthrocker got 'album of the year' 2013 by Metalhammer magazine (UK), and was rated highly on a lot of rock/metal magazines and websites end of the year top 10's.
In an interview on January 7, 2015 with music and entertainment company 88 Miles West, Fallon stated that the band is heading to Dripping Springs, Texas, to record their upcoming eleventh album. Fallon states the venture to Texas is due to the relocation of record producer Machine, with whom they worked on Blast Tyrant and Earth Rocker, and who recently opened a new studio there. He states in the interview that "Septemberish, give or take a couple of months" is when they hope to release the new album.
Their eleventh studio album is titled Psychic Warfare, and was released October 2nd, 2015. Fallon said the concept is influenced by Science fiction author Philip Dick. "His general philosophy and questions have always crept into my lyrics, because I share an interest in it," he adds. "On 'Earth Rocker,' 'Crucial Velocity' was definitely a Philip Dick song for me. On this record, "X-Ray Visions" certainly is." . Gaster described the new material as more diverse than ever.